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Delirium (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

    Ian Jane

  • Delirium (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: December 28th, 2021.
    Director: Peter Maris
    Cast: Nick Panouzis, Terry TenBroek, Turky Cekovsky, Debi Chaney, Harry Gorusch
    Year: 1979
    Purchase From Amazon

    Delirium – Movie Review:

    Set in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, 197's Delirium, the feature film directorial debut of Peter Maris, is based around a gang of Vietnam War veterans who have recently returned home to American soil. Upset with the direction that their country has taken, they form an underground organization set up to recruit fellow vets interested in using their skills to clean up the streets and dole out punishment to those criminals who have somehow slipped through the cracks of the justice system.

    The man behind all of this is Eric Stern (Barron Winchester, which is just about the coolest name ever), a chrome-domed lunatic who rules with an iron fist. When the group enlists a vet named Charlie (Nick Panouzis) to help them out, they quickly realize that they've made a grave mistake. Charlie suffers from serious post-traumatic stress disorder and has opted not to kill criminals the group deems deserving of capital punishment, but pretty young women instead.

    As Charlie's killing spree intensifies, Stern and company start taking out anyone who might want to rat them out to the Feds. Meanwhile, two cops, Paul Dollinger (Turk Cekovsky) and Larry Mead (Terry TenBroek), investigate the recent rash of killings and start putting together the pieces of this reasonably convoluted puzzle in hopes of putting a stop to the murders.

    Also known as Psycho Puppet, Delirium was made using “portions of an unfinished urban conspiracy thriller” for which Maris and company shot new footage that was then added to it. The results are a little haphazard but the movie turns out to be a pretty fun watch, a film far more concerned with giving its audience the trash and thrills it wants than with things like logic or really making a whole lot of sense. There are massive, massive plot holes and logic gaps here, but these are offset by scenes like the one where our killer breaks into a house while a woman baths only to grab a cleaver and chop up the poor bastard who finds him down there. Dollops of delightful female nudity and gory violence help Delirium to overcome its sometimes very obvious shortcomings and the film winds up working just well enough to really entertain.

    Clearly made with a more than modest budget, the film benefits from some naturally seedy locations and a genuinely cool score from David Williams (who would go on to be quiet prolific in Hollywood and work on scores of B-movies like Shakma, Critters 3 and Wishmaster 2!). The low budget shines through with some of the acting, but Nick Panouzis, who doesn’t seem to have made any other movies, has such a quirky, weird presence as the all-too quiet Charlie to really turn in some memorable work as the film’s killer. Barron Winchester, who has an IMDB credit as ‘Sewer Dweller’ and as Donald Pleasance’s uncredited stand-in in John Carpenter’s classic Escape From New York does an awesome job chewing the scenery as Stern. Anytime either one of these guys are on the screen, which is pretty often, the movie is gold!

    Delirium – Blu-ray Review:

    Severin Films brings Delirium on Region Free Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation framed at 1.85.1 widescreen with the eighty-eight minute feature taking up 27GBs of space on the 50GB disc. Restored from the only known 35mm print in existence, the transfer doesn’t look as good as it would have had it been taken from a negative, but the print used was in pretty solid shape. Expect heavy grain throughout and some minor print damage here and there but the image is stable and has pretty decent depth and detail. Colors sometimes lean a little to the yellow side of things but black levels are fine and there aren’t any noticeable compression issues, noise reduction problems or edge enhancement snags to gripe about – this always looks like film.

    The only audio option for the feature itself is a 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono Master Audio track in the film’s native English with optional subtitles provided in English only. Again, this isn’t reference quality but it’s fine. Range is a bit limited but there’s some depth during the shoot out towards the end and with the score. There’s some occasional hiss and a bit of sibilance in a few spots but the dialogue stays clean and clear and the levels are balanced well.

    Extras start off with Directing Delirium, an interview with director Peter Maris that lasts twenty minutes. Here the director talks about his early days in the film industry, how he wound up directing Delirium as his first feature film and the piecemeal nature of the production. He discusses some of the people he worked with and goes into quite a bit of detail about the film’s low budget production history.

    Monster Is Man is an interview with Special Effects Artist Bob Shelley that runs for seventeen minutes and lets Shelley discuss how he got into doing special effects work after doing a stint in the army where he specialized in munitions. He also goes over what it was like on set, working with Maris and more.

    A trailer as well as some menus and chapter selection options round out the extras on the disc.

    Delirium - The Final Word:

    Delirium requires more suspension of disbelief than maybe it needed to but it nevertheless proves to be a pretty entertaining mix of horror and action that fans of vintage exploitation and drive-in fare will definitely appreciate. Severin’s Blu-ray looks as good as it probably can and the interviews in the supplemental section are worth your time. Good stuff!

    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Delirium Blu-ray screen caps!

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